Kyrie’s Not in It for the Long Haul
By Steve Bulpett
ATLANTA -- The discussion was about Vince Carter, now a Hawk at 41 (42 in January), still going strong, and Kyrie Irving, 26, was asked about his own career longevity in that context.
But before the question could be finished, Irving said through a grin, “Naw, once I’m done with this, hopefully in my early- to mid-30s, I’m done with this. I’m done with this game.”
“I want to be,” the Celtics point guard said. “I love basketball itself, but everything that comes with it ... it doesn’t really matter to me in terms of my life. So I enjoy the game. I enjoy being with my teammates, playing every single day, being an NBA player. This is a dream that I’ve had since I was a kid. I think everything else that comes with it doesn’t necessarily hold the same stature as it does for other people. I enjoy it though. I love this game more than anything.”
As for what issues he would take with the NBA life, Irving went deep.
“I would just say I wish sometimes there was more empathy in terms of what we’ve committed ourselves to doing every single day, you know, putting our bodies on the line and kind of understanding kind of the mental strain that you put on just trying to be great every single day at just literally putting the ball in the hoop better than you did yesterday,” he said.
“So it comes at a price, but I think that it’s what we all signed up for. And it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for as long as possible in order to win as many championships and be as successful as I can.
“I just think that the material gain in it, it doesn’t really matter to me anymore as much as it once did. So the little things are what make the game special.”
Getting back to Carter, it’s interesting to note he’s just three months younger than Brad Stevens.
“I can’t jog 20 minutes a day without most of my body hurting,” the Celtics coach said, “so I would say that it’s pretty amazing what he’s doing. And I really respect Vince for a lot of reasons. You think about the fact he was a high flyer, now he’s like a ridiculously good shooter. And 25,000 points you don’t get just from being able to do one thing. He’s got a heck of a skill set and he’s really had a heck of a career.
“I don’t see it ending any time in the next 10 years,” Stevens added.